Alex Trebek was the beloved face of “Jeopardy!” for decades, and he left some big shoes to fill after his death from pancreatic cancer.
Once “Jeopardy!” tapped former champion Ken Jennings as host, they also added “The Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik after she was a guest host for Season 37.
Since the two began, they’ve been receiving backlash from fans of the game show, who have been very outspoken on social media. So much so that the show’s executive producer Michael Davies has weighed in on the criticism.
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“This show is so hard to host,” Davies said during an interview with Vulture.
“Alex made it his own… I do read everything, and look, the strongest thing we’ve got is the passion of our fans. I wish many of our fans were more patient in understanding that we’re dealing with two hosts.”
He continued to break down what makes Bialik and Jennings’ qualified to take over.
“Mayim is a very experienced actress. Ken is a very experienced ‘Jeopardy!’ player. They’re both at the beginning of their hosting careers… I’ll do everything I can to make this successful…” Davies argued.
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One of the jobs the “Jeopardy!” producer does daily is actively monitoring the online responses to the popular game show. Davies noted that he takes audience feedback “seriously.”
When asked if he has a sense of viewers preferring one host to the other he responded, “I couldn’t give you an absolute number.”
“In terms of the tiny percentage of our audience that do go on Reddit or Twitter, there are Ken fans and there are Mayim fans. There are some people who love ‘Jeopardy!’ and will watch both. We also have various fans who post that they don’t like either of them,” he pointed out.
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Davies went on to say that the most important thing are the ratings. He said there is “zero difference” when either Bialik or Jennings is hosting, noting, “it’s exactly the same.”
Davies expressed that there was a good amount of rebuilding to do in the summer of 2021 as there was an “incredible fracture at the heart of ‘Jeopardy!’ with the loss of Alex Trebek.”
“I stand by the decision to bring Ken in and have Ken be a second host along with Mayim. I back both of them. I go to the studio every day and try to make both of them better at hosting the show and make a better program environment around them. They have my full support,” he said.
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Jennings is a record-holder for most consecutive wins and total earnings as a “Jeopardy!” contestant. He was the first person the show asked to guest host in 2020, following Trebek’s death.
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Bialik joined Jennings as a co-host of the trivia game show in 2021. The two were initially tapped to host the show through the end of season 38 while executives searched for a permanent new host. However, it was announced in July 2022 the two would officially share the role.